St Madoc Centre Medlar
This is one of The Tree Council’s 60 educational tree planting schemes with children that
were inspired by the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Each tree, provided by The Tree
Council, was chosen and planted by volunteers in the community.
We chose a medlar for the St Madoc Centre on the Gower Peninsula in south Wales because it is an interesting tree which sits well among our other old variety apples and pears.
Children from our EcoTribe programme were involved in the initial clearing of the area, and other local young people, in the form of Duke of Edinburgh Award lads, did the heavy preparation. The EcoTribe children range in age from toddlers through to 16 plus.
Unfortunately, planting day was cold and wet, so only 12 EcoTribe members braved the conditions. However they did show enthusiasm for the task and were happy to help with final clearance of the area around the pre-dug hole, to help lift the tree into position and to help back fill it afterwards.
The task provoked some comments from the children, such as “What is a medlar tree? I’ve never heard of one of those” and “Does it have fruit you can eat?” So we were able to explain the tree, the fruit and the interesting way that it becomes palatable only after rotting slightly, unlike all the other fruit trees we have on site. One child was heard to say “stomping the earth was my favourite bit”.
Our Jubilee Diamond Tree has thrived and we have taken nearly 30 different school parties, numbering in excess of 1000 students, to see it as part of our regular excursions through our wooded area. We talk about the age of the trees and encourage the children to think about the relative sizes, ages and shapes of the various ones in the woods.
The children have made crowns and have gathered twigs and branches for other activities. We have undertaken our usual bush craft activities, and the children have been introduced to the medlar.
We hope to be able to monitor its progress over the years, and visiting children can update our records. It is an
on-going project, and we will continue to utilise it with groups of visiting children.
The medlar is in a prominent position adjacent to the car park so all our staff, volunteers and visiting groups pass it. We were delighted that in its first year with us it produced some fruit – albeit small – provoking the comment from a couple of children: “Wow, the fruit is really weird”.
Photographs - top to bottom:
- 1. Three cheers for the Jubilee Diamond medlar.
- 2. Preparing the hole for the special tree.
- 3. Planting proves a real team effort.
- 4. Food for thought: the medlar’s “weird” fruit.
- 5. Visiting children enjoy the centre’s new addition.